About a year ago I joined a fitness group (well…a fitness group with an interest in cosplay) that gets together once a year for DragonCon in Atlanta. When I joined I just wanted to stay on the perimeter and be the introvert that I am. As a newer member of the Spartans (300dc), I thought I might costume Leonidas’ mother, who had maybe 10 seconds of screen time. Easy Spartan chiton and sandals, no frills, blend in as a wallflower. But over the course of several months, I found myself becoming more integrated into the group, and at the same time I was learning how to sew. So naturally I wanted something more challenging. After seeing the second 300 film (300: Rise of an Empire), I drooled over Eva Green’s Artemisia’s wardrobe. I boldly chose her gorgeous red dress that had, coincidentally, maybe 10 seconds of screen time. Still unknown wallflower but certainly more visible. Since this particular outfit had so little screen time, there wasn’t much information out there, so I just had to sight the costume and wing it.
From screenshots I was able to determine that Artemisia’s skirt was full (flared?), her back covered in the same fabric, with a strip of bunched/pleated fabric around her neck like a scarf (or Indian dupatta) tucked off-centered in at the waist. For the skirt I used red faux silk curtains with a Game of Thrones Daenerys costume skirt pattern (McCalls 6941). The skirt pattern had the weight and flow that I wanted for Artemisia. I made the back and scarf with the leftover curtain scraps. I didn’t have a pattern for the back or scarf, so I baste-stitched irregular pleats and sewed the back and scarf together and then into the skirt.
The top of the dress was more challenging. The front of her shirt looked like chainmail from far away but was actually a silver studded nude shirt close up. I found a nude polyester shirt at Macy’s that would serve as the base for Artemisia’s shirt. I hand stitched 1/4″ black trim around the neck, and also split the back of the shirt and added ties like a hospital gown (the back would be covered anyway). I then removed the shirt sleeves and glued in craft foam molded around shoulder pads as rigid cap sleeves. I covered the entire front of the shirt, cap sleeves, and back shoulders with studded ribbon from Hobby Lobby. This part took the longest, as I had to individually hot glue each stud (about 5,000 of them) to the shirt. I am not an expert on sewing or making costumes, but I do have the patience to individually glue 5,000 studs to a shirt. In fact, I enjoyed the hell out of that particular activity. For accessories, Artemisia had matching studded gimp gloves and rocked a fierce full ear cuff. I modified a pair of bridal gimp gloves and covered each glove in studs while I was wearing them. The ear cuff was custom made for me from Heather Jordan Jewelry with gunmetal wire, garnet and labradorite beads. I finished off the look with a wig from Mari Air Hair in Houston.
Finally, I had enough time before DragonCon to modify a cheap plastic sword for a prop. Artemisia had twin swords during most fight scenes, but used a small dagger in the scene with the red dress. A replica dagger was available, but I didn’t want to pay $135 for it. So I purchased one of the twin swords for about $15 on Amazon. I cut about 8 inches of the blade off and removed the side spikes from the hilt cross-guards. Close enough. I sealed the open pieces, sanded, and spray painted the entire dagger to give it a new, but antiqued, finish.
Here is the final product at DragonCon in Atlanta with the 300dc group. What a fantastic and talented group of people, many of whom I now call dear friends (if you’re reading, thanks for the warm welcome!). I can’t wait to see everyone again next year. I had a blast!
Featured image photo credit: Found Art Photography